An extract on #exploresg
Panama's politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
For all people national elections are universal and mandatory for all citizens 18 years and older. National elections for the executive and legislative branches take place every five years. Members of the judicial branch (justices) are appointed by the head of state. Panama's National Assembly is elected by proportional representation in fixed electoral districts, so many smaller parties are represented. Presidential elections do not require a simple majority; out of the four last presidents only one, incumbent president Ricardo Martinelli, was elected with over 50% of the popular vote.
Since the early 20th century, Panama has built, thanks to the revenues of the canal, the largest International Financial Center (IFC) in the Central America region, with consolidated assets representing more than three times Panamas GDP. The banking sector employs more than 24,000 people directly. Financial intermediation contributed 9.3 percent of GDP. Stability has been a key strength to Panama financial sector, which has benefited from the country's favorable economic and business climate. The banking institutions have continued to report sound growth and solid financial earnings. The banking supervisory regime is largely compliant with the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision. As an international financial center, Panama exports its services mainly to Central and Latin America and is a fundamental part of the connectivity of the country's economy.
Panama had a reputation worldwide for being a tax haven but have agreed for enhanced transparency especially since the release in 2016 of the Panama Papers. Significant progress have been made to improve full compliance to anti-money laundering recommendations. Panama was removed from the FATFGAFI gray list in February 2016. However efforts remain to be made, the IMF repeatedly mentions the need to strengthen financial transparency and fiscal structure.
Originally, during the 16th century, education in Panama was provided by Jesuit priests. Public education, as a national and governmental institution, began in 1903. The principles underlying this early education system were that children should receive different types of education in accordance with their social class and therefore the position they were expected to occupy in society.
Public education began in Panama soon after the separation from Colombia in 1903. The first efforts were guided by an extremely paternalistic view of the goals of education, as evidenced in comments made in a 1913 meeting of the First Panamanian Educational Assembly, "The cultural heritage given to the child should be determined by the social position he will or should occupy. For this reason education should be different in accordance with the social class to which the student should be related." This elitist focus changed rapidly under United States influence.
In 2010, it was estimated that 94.1% of the population was literate (94.7% of males and 93.5% of females). Education in Panama is compulsory for the children of age group between 6 and 18. In recent decades, school enrollment at all levels, but especially at upper levels, has increased significantly. Panama used to participate in the PISA exams but due to debts and unsatisfactory exam results is postponing participation until 2018.